Re: poly: Re: tolerance... promoted by shadows??

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Tue May 26 1998 - 09:48:30 PDT (d.brin) writes:
>Hal said >>
>Privacy forces society to be more tolerant, in effect, by allowing people
>to hide those aspects of their lives which society would not approve of.<<

 A complete non-sequitur. Privacy reduces the harm done by intolerance,
allowing a wider variety of tolerance levels to be stable.

>He gave as an example the persecution of gays.
>SAY WHAT? Hal, pause and reflect. In times past, gays kept it secret...
>and suffered horribly when caught. Today it's in the open and they get
>elected to Congress and have their own TV shows.

 In Germany in 1940, Jews kept it secret and suffered horribly when caught.
Today it's in the open and they are much better off. This is quite consistent
with the claim that they should be able to keep secrets. I can easily
imagine that gays before 1969 would have been worse off in the absence of

> You guys keep repeating these theoretical propositions as if they are self
>evident, without coming up with an iota of historical proof to back em up.

 I'm still waiting to hear a historical example from you that is clearly
inconsistent with the desirability of privacy.

>Sure, it *sounds* logical that secrecy should protect freedom. But it just
>ain't true. No government ever knew more about its people than ours does,
>and no people were ever so free. How does that data point fit on your

 The amount of data a government collects on me isn't a good measure of
whether I can keep secrets from it. For most of that data, I don't care
about keeping it secret. What matters is what happens when I want to
hide something from the government, and the government wants to find it.
I doubt that the U.S. government has more power than the average government
has had to acquire data that people are actively hiding from it.

Peter McCluskey          | Critmail ( | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list
Received on Tue May 26 16:51:16 1998

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